This n’ That Thursday – Man Cave Coffee Table

Repurposing wooden items that were originally made for industrial or military use has become very popular in recent years. Heavy, roughly cut items become interesting and useful conversation pieces after a little alteration, natural chalk/clay/mineral paint by American Paint Company and a little TLC.

I have several Vietnam-era boxes that the U.S. Army used to tote 105mm artillery shells. Each is clearly labeled “Loaded 9-74” and was made to carry two shells weighing over 50 pounds apiece. With this kind of strength, I thought that a man cave coffee table would be the perfect project. What guy can break an artillery box?


My first challenge was to design legs that would hold the weight of the box. Although the plan was to design and build a coffee table, I know from habit that I use coffee tables for other things–footrests and benches come to mind.

I decided to use four 4×4 inch post sections for the legs and proceeded to trace and cut square holes in the box for each leg. I attached the legs to the box with long drywall screws. To prevent scratching on hardwood floors, I then attached cork pads to the bottom of each leg.


3ammobox_holes for legs 

4ammobox_attaching legs

I wanted to retain as much of the original stenciling on the box as possible and bring out the wood shade so I applied my American Paint Company colors with a color wash technique.

I used a combination of APC Dollar Bill, Plymouth Rock and Gun Powder.

These variations of gray gave the box a nice metal effect. I then waxed the entire piece with APC Clear Wax.


Now this baby is ready for Super Bowl XLVIII!





Post courtesy of Dave


  1. Very cool

  2. Super awesome!! Great job!

  3. Meredith Hess says

    I love what you’ve done with the ammo box and you color choices are perfect!

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